Recently, I have been looking back over our almost 40 years in ministry. Having married very early, we have had our share of ups and downs in ministry. We literally had to grow up and figure out life together.
One of the hardest lessons for me to learn is that God is always near and that He knows our needs. Only in these last few years can I honestly say finances are not as tight. Oh, we still budget, cut out things we would really like to have, and drive our vehicles until they literally quit running or can’t be repaired. However, we do have some wiggle room to do some fun vacations or to make a “want” purchase. This was not true in our early ministry life.
Our first church out of seminary was a small, rural church in Northeast Texas. We adored (and still do) those people and have wonderful memories of our time there. We had a nice parsonage but we had to pay all the expenses, upkeep, etc. on a very poor salary. There were days that we had no food on the table and no money to purchase it. However, God knew our need. Out of the blue a church member would drive up to drop off a package of fresh beef, chicken or garden-picked vegetables. Yes, God knew our needs.
When our youngest child was two months old, he spent eight terrifying days in the hospital with pneumonia. Those were dark days of uncertainly not knowing if he would survive and how we would ever pay the hospital bill. On top of that it was Christmas and we had a three-year-old at home expecting presents under the tree. However, God knew our needs. Our child recovered, and we were able to purchase a couple of gifts for our oldest child. It was also the only year this small, rural church gave us a Christmas gift-$300. We used that money to start paying the hospital bill. Yes, God knew our needs.
Years have passed and God still surprises me. Since I am the “keeper of the budget,” I know exactly what we have and what we can and can’t purchase. A few years ago, our current church voted to redo the preschool and children areas and to raise the money upfront. Every member was challenged to give sacrificially. My husband and I did not have much money to put toward the project but we made a large commitment. God knew our need. Shortly before writing that first large-to-us check, I received a pay out on my dad’s life insurance policy. When I filed the paperwork on the policy a few weeks prior, I was told it would be two or three months before it would be processed. Surprise, it came in month! Because of that money, we were able to cover our commitment to the church project and then some. Yes, God knows our need.
Sisters, I know times can be financially difficult. Kids get sick, cars break down, refrigerators quit, etc. Many ministers do not make large salaries, and even with the wife working, we still live on limited budges . . .and energy. Don’t get discouraged. God promises to provide for our needs not necessarily our wants.
Mediate on these words from Phil. 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”